Director J.J. Abrams has worked hard to keep the secrets of Star Wars: The Force Awakens under wraps, and so far it’s turned out quite well! We’ve lived through the release of the film’s only three theatrical trailers, none of which revealed an inkling of the plot, and now Disney is taking steps to ensure that the story isn’t revealed out of context by the novelization. Per The Wall Street Journal, Penguin Random House’s Del Rey imprint has agreed to Disney’s request not to release the print edition of the hardcover tie-in book until January 5th, nearly three weeks after the film hits theaters on December 17th.
This is actually a smart move. If you really want to know the major plot points of a big blockbuster film, all you have to do is visit your local bookstore (they still exist, I swear). Whether it’s in a children’s picture book or a genuine novelization, the story points of many films are well covered in print before the film actually hits theaters. Traditionally, they hit shelves about two months before the film’s release date—the novelization of Revenge of the Sith was in stores six weeks before the movie opened.
The e-book version of The Force Awakens will still be released on December 18th, however, given that digital files are much easier to control before they go on sale. Disney’s worry with the print edition is that since copies have to start being published well in advance of the release date, a copy of the text will leak far ahead of the film’s opening night.
With Star Wars, a franchise that successfully made a leap to book form in a big way with the Expanded Universe, a book iteration of The Force Awakens was a foregone conclusion. So it’s nice to see that Disney is taking steps to make sure as many fans as possible have a chance to experience the story in the proper context first before reading the book.
Retailers would no doubt love to have the print edition on sale in time for the holiday season, but a Del Rey spokesman said he understands the importance of protecting the story. Moreover, Star Wars books are as much a collector’s item as they are a piece of media, so fans will no doubt still grab themselves a physical copy even if they have to wait a few weeks.
For more on Star Wars: The Force Awakens, click on the links below:
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- Carrie Fisher’s ‘Star Wars’ Advice to Daisy Ridley: “Don’t Be a Slave Like I Was”
- ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Gwendoline Christie on Playing the Series’ First Female Villain
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- Watch George Lucas and More Celebs Grill J.J. Abrams on ’Star Wars: The Force Awakens’